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The Larger Ashdown Landscape Recovery Project

 

MARK INFIELD

 

The Landscape Recovery Scheme launched by government under the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) seeks to establish 50 landscapes delivering ambitious nature recovery across the country to help meet its commitment to restore nature on 30% of the land by 2030. The scheme funded 22 proposals under the first round in 2022. Ashdown Forest has been leading a process to develop an ambitious nature recovery proposal that was submitted to the second round in September.

 

Ashdown Forest worked with 42 landowners and managers with total land holdings in the region of 7,400ha to develop this proposal. If successful, a grant from government will allow a detailed landscape recovery project to be developed. The hoped for grant of £750,000 will allow a range of studies and investigations to be undertaken to craft a viable landscape recovery project that landowners and managers, including Ashdown Forest, can agree to be part of and commit to for 20 to 30 years.

 

 

 

The grant application presents a compelling vision, a clearly articulated justification, and a set of well-crafted ideas for achieving nature recovery and sustainable food production across a linked landscape with Ashdown Forest at is heart. Key elements of the landscape project include:

 

  • Restoring and enhancing priority habitats across the landscape. Creating new habitat and habitat linkages will improve the connectivity and resilience of these habitats and the wildlife in them, to threats posed by climate change and loss of habitat.

 

  • Generating opportunities to operate at scale to deliver conservation, climate resilience, carbon sequestration and water protection; zoning for compatible land uses including food production, tourism, recreation and education.

 

  • Working together and creating opportunities for revenue and job creation; branding and a business model to improve sustainability and secure longevity.

 

  • Widening and deepening opportunities for the public to engage with and participate in nature conservation across the landscape.

 

Mark is Ashdown Forest’s Landscape Recovery Manager, and he will be giving a series of local talks this autumn about re-connecting Ashdown Forest with its neighbours, why this is important and how to achieve it. See www.ashdownforest.org for more details.

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